Sarah Brien is a farm girl at heart. Raised on a sheep farm in Ridgetown, ON, she is a fourth generation farmer who naturally inherited her love for the land and animals as well as her sense of community spirit and involvement from her parents.
Erin McLean’s family moved to a farm north of Peterborough when she was five years old. Today, the farm’s offerings include strawberries, peas and raspberries, squash and potatoes, maple syrup and jams and more. They also sell at at local farmers markets and their own two stores.
And, while these two come from different types of farms in different parts of Ontario, they share a common passion for farming – and for sharing their farm stories with the public.
Both are members of a group of 10 young Ontario farmers sharing day to day experiences from their farms through the newly created Dinner Starts Here on-line initiative (www.dinnerstartshere.ca) And, they share a page in the 2014 Faces of Farming calendar, published by Farm & Food Care Ontario. They appear on the month of January, 2014 on a page sponsored by the Farmers Feed Cities program.
You can watch a video interview with the two women at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hb5SVBRXxs&list=PLxl8ycqu125dgviFG5XoLXP_QPJTJD3IN or follow them on twitter @Mcleanberryfarm and @sarahlee516
Farming wasn’t a direct path for either of them. Brien confesses she didn’t always want to farm. In fact, it was a last-minute decision to attend the University of Guelph for agriculture that changed her future. “Something told me agriculture is what I should do, and I haven’t looked back,” she says. A recent university graduate, Brien currently works for an agricultural organization, but hopes to return to the farm someday to raise her own flock.
And while farming was always something Erin enjoyed, it wasn’t something she thought about as she headed off to university and then to teachers’ college. She enjoyed it but the kind of passion she was looking for couldn’t be found in a teachers’ lounge. So, after working in and travelling around Europe, a Skype chat with her Dad resulted in the announcement that she, too, might be interested in coming home to help the family business. Today, beyond the planting and picking, McLean loves to spend time talking with curious customers and excited children.
To see an interview with the two visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hb5SVBRXxs
To read some of their blogs, visit www.dinnerstartshere.ca